sumire (sumirechan) wrote,

I share a name with WHAT?!

Once she recovered from the shock, Anne Frank would probably get a good laugh out of the way her name has been immortalized in Japan. "Today is Anne's Day (An-ne no hi)," one woman might whisper to another. Her message is far removed from World War II and the Nazi regime that forced the Jewish teenager and her family into hiding. The diary that Anne kept moved millions to ponder the insanity of war. It also gave Japan a now old-fashioned term for menstruation. Although few people say Anne no hi anymore, older women still recognize it and remember it when they speak, not of war and death, but of the flowing potential for life.

Anne broached this topic tenderly once: "Each time I have a period--and that has only been three times--I have the feeling that in spite of all the pain, the unpleasantness and nastiness, I have a sweet secret and that is why, although it is nothing but a nuisance to me in a way, I always long for the time that I shall feel that secret within me again."

The connection is so obscure that it would never have occurred to the average Japanese if it weren't for a certain sanitary napkin and tampon manufacturer that chose to call itself Anne Co., Ltd. This firm introduced the first sanitary paper products proportioned for Japanese women in 1961, using Anne's Day" as an advertising theme.

--Cherry, Kittredge. Womensword: What Japanese Words Say About Women, 1987, page 18.
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